I grew up in Florida where a favorite family activity was a day at the beach. Leisurely days hunting for seashells, building sand castles, and playing in the surf. I vividly remember feeling my feet sinking in wet sand as I stood at the edge of the water, mesmerized by the rolling waves. Sometimes I could see a sandbar beyond the breakers. It would be so cool to be out there surrounded by the water. But how to get past those pounding waves?
A few years ago, I watched a TV program about Navy SEALS training in the Pacific. One of those strong young men was caught in the surf, rolling around and unable to get past the waves. The drill instructor stood on the shore shouting out, “Dive under!” The same trick I learned as a child. The easiest way to get past the breaking waves is to dive under them. If you stand there, you get knocked down and rolled around. Of course you can jump over them until you are in deeper water. Then you have to dive under, swim through, and pop up in the calm on the other side.
Anxiety is like the a pounding wave that knocks you down and rolls you around. You can jump over the little ones, but soon you are in too deep. You can try to run away, but it is hard to run in water and those waves just keep coming. However, you can dive in and swim through to the other side. How do you dive into anxiety? Approach the thing you fear. (I can help you learn how to do that.) As Robert Frost put it, “The best way out is always through.”
Wave diving gets easier with practice. It really is great fun to be surrounded by the beautiful calm water. Maybe you will find an awesome treasure once you get past the waves.